Decision due on controversial crossing in Hartlepool

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THE future of a controversial crossing which has divided opinion among residents is finally set to be decided by councillors.

Cash-strapped Hartlepool Borough Council spent £40,000 on installing the crossing in Blakelock Gardens in March 2011 to improve safety.

But then former Mayor Stuart Drummond then agreed to remove the crossing - at a further cost of more than £10,000 - because of concerns from residents living close by that it was making the road more dangerous and that people were not using it.

Those who had originally campaigned for the crossing voiced their own concerns and anger over that decision at the time and it led to a further round of consultation under the new governance arrangements at the local authority.

The vast majority of residents that responded say they wanted the crossing to stay where it is and now the council’s neighbourhood services committee will meet next week to discuss three options that were presented as part of the consultation:

l To completely remove the crossing.

l To retain the crossing at its present location.

l To re-locate the crossing to its original proposed location which is 45ft down the road, including the left turn ban out of Brinkburn Road.

Officers say removing the crossing would cost around £12,000 while the re-location of the crossing and introduction of the left turn ban, would cost around £35,000 and the cost would come from the existing council’s local transport plan.

A council report by Alastair Smith, assistant director of neighbourhoods, said: “The consultation was extended beyond Blakelock Gardens and Brinkburn Road, in order to obtain the views of other residents in the area.

“A total of 522 letters were delivered, as well as the three ward councillors and the neighbourhood manager.

“A drop in session was also held at St Matthew’s Hall for members of the public who live outside of the consultation area, to express their views.”

Transport officers say in total, there was 105 responses from the consultation which found 17.14 per cent want the crossing removed completely, 72.38 per cent want the crossing to remain at its existing location and 10.48 per cent want the crossing moved back to its original location.

The report did warn if the crossing was removed, that would have implications for the elderly and mobility impaired pedestrians, as it would be harder for them to cross over Blakelock Gardens.

The crossing cost around £40,000, with the Central Neighbourhood Consultative Forum contributing £15,000 and the Town Centre Communities NAP Forum £10,000.

The committee meets Monday, October 14 at 9.30am at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.